he Caravan of Courage – not to be confused with the television series of the same name – was founded by six Hunter Valley winemakers in 2009 as a collaborative marketing group with the sole intention of exhibiting their wines at the Good Food and Wine Show for one year. The response was so positive, the tongue-in-cheek venture has evolved to see the group jump in a green 1966 Austin bus, powered by a 1980 issue truck engine, to take their wines from Melbourne to Noosa, taking in Newcastle, Sydney, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay and Brisbane along the way.
The goal is to educate people about the classic and emerging styles of wines being produced in the Hunter Valley by this new generation of winemakers. As part of the journey, they are holding a pop-up wine bar next week in the heart of the city with all the winemakers present to talk about their wines.
While the group – David Hook (David Hook Wines), Andrew Thomas (Thomas Wines), Rhys Eather (Meerea Park) Nick Paterson (Mistletoe Wines), Mike De Iuliis (De Iuliis Wines) and Andrew Margan (Margan Wines) – may be preaching to the converted through New South Wales, it was important fro them to start their campaign in Melbourne.
“Melbourne is important to us,” says Thomas on the phone from his winery. “It has been a bit of a struggle to get a foothold in the market there, although it is getting better.”
Thomas specialises in Shiraz and Semillon, the latter a variety much aligned to and revered from the Hunter Valley and often misunderstood by the average consumer, “It’s the reason where doing this,” he laughs, “Hunter Valley Semillons have been termed Australia’s gift to the wine world and we’d like to show people why.”
The first pop-up in Melbourne is at a secret location in the city this Thursday April 19. You just need to buy tickets through their website or Facebook page and you will be informed of the location in the lead up to the event.